New twist on towing issue with a 5er - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-23-2015, 01:05 PM   #1
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Name: Peter
Trailer: Scamp
Iowa
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New twist on towing issue with a 5er

Hi all,

Just purchased a 2010 19 footer. My tow vehicle is a 1994 Silverado 1/2 ton.

I have found that height is not my problem with the hitch set up as I have about 8 inches between the trailer and bed rails. After great research and much deliberation with the owner of the truck shop I had the hitch installed, it was placed about 2 inches BEHIND the rear axle of the truck. Given what he had found in his research he thought it would be best to place the hitch so that there would be about 60 inches from the middle of the ball to the corner of the bumper on the truck. He also indicated, that since the hitch is BEHIND the axel, there could be a slight chance of sway with this set up, but he also said given its only a 3500 lb trailer, he doubted that would be the case.

When I got home with the truck and hooked it to the trailer for the first time, I found that I have only about 10 inches between the bumper and the front of the framework which houses the landing gear, propane and battery. When I did some preliminary moves with the setup, I found that when the truck sits at about 45 degrees to the Scamp I have about an inch of clearance. It gets even more hairy (maybe a half-inch) when the truck is at about 60 degrees to the camper.

Obviously, I could have the hitch moved back a couple more inches behind the axel to remedy this situation, but am somewhat concerned this may lead to stability/sway issues.

Anyone have any thoughts??
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:03 PM   #2
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New twist on towing issue with a 5er

When I picked up my Scamp 19, they installed the hitch so that the ball was at least 4-inches behind the axle. I probably towed that trailer at least 15,000 miles before selling it and buying an Escape 5.0TA, another 5th wheel. I towed it 5,000 miles plus on the return trip from British Columbia to Florida. I used the same rail position for the true 5th wheel hitch as I did for Scamp's proprietary set-up. Number of times I experienced sway: ZERO! Both the Scamp and the Escape track superbly. Moving your hitch back another 2 or 3 inches should not be a problem.


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Old 07-26-2015, 11:12 AM   #3
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Trailer: '04 Scamp 19D, Tacoma 4.0L 4door, SB
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Quite correct. A few inches behind the axle is perfectly OK. The sway tendency will gradually increase with moving the ball further back. When it is 3 or 4 feet behind the axle, that is when the trailer movements become seriously amplified by the tow vehicle as it is "steered" by the side forces on the ball. Those 3-4 feet provide huge leverage! In the 5th wheel setup the side forces are taken up by the rear axle of the truck and it does not get steered left-right.
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:23 AM   #4
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I pulled my Scamp many thousands of miles with a Toyota Tacoma Crew Cab and five foot box. The hitch was located 10" behind the axle so I could back the trailer with the truck at 90 degrees. I never did that, so when I bought the Nissan, also a Crew Cab with 5' box, I mounted the hitch in the center of the box which is approx. 2" behind the axle. Sway has not been an issue with either arrangement. I do prefer the appearance of the trailer located closer to the cab.

I went out to do a bit of measuring, and found that I have 50" from center of ball to end of bumper. When I back up to the trailer with my tailgate down, I have only an inch or two of clearance to the underframe of the trailer. Peter, since your clearance is so limited, how do you back up to the trailer? (Remove tailgate?)
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Old 07-26-2015, 08:56 PM   #5
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Earlier today I went out and since I left the hitch in the bed, I confirmed that I have 59 to 60 inches from ball center to the bumper corner (2013 Tacoma, crew cab, 5ft bed). Maximum 60 is what Scamp says in their printed Owner's Manual. With the tailgate down, I would hit the gas tanks, so it used to be a two step procedure: back up part way, get out, raise the gate, then finish. (Or ask for help, but I do not want anybody, especially the DW to stand too close to the action.) Then I bent a 1/4 inch rod so I can hook the tailgate half way. That way I can back up all the way. In the middle of the tailgate is a white line, so I can see my alignment L/R from the seat. To align on the ball, I have a one foot square mirror on a contraption that I set in the bed. It is at a 45 degree angle, up above the ball. Those things get me right there without wrenching my neck. Maybe I should have tried those tennis balls on a stick, but this works.
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Old 07-27-2015, 01:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul O. View Post
Earlier today I went out and since I left the hitch in the bed, I confirmed that I have 59 to 60 inches from ball center to the bumper corner (2013 Tacoma, crew cab, 5ft bed). Maximum 60 is what Scamp says in their printed Owner's Manual. With the tailgate down, I would hit the gas tanks, so it used to be a two step procedure: back up part way, get out, raise the gate, then finish. (Or ask for help, but I do not want anybody, especially the DW to stand too close to the action.) Then I bent a 1/4 inch rod so I can hook the tailgate half way. That way I can back up all the way. In the middle of the tailgate is a white line, so I can see my alignment L/R from the seat. To align on the ball, I have a one foot square mirror on a contraption that I set in the bed. It is at a 45 degree angle, up above the ball. Those things get me right there without wrenching my neck. Maybe I should have tried those tennis balls on a stick, but this works.

I use a flag that the utility companies use to mark underground lines. Wrap it around the ball and watch the flag as I back up. When the younger hits it, I get out, remove the flag and lower the trailer onto the ball.
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Old 07-27-2015, 03:57 AM   #7
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Camping World sell a product called "Hitching Sticks." One goes on the coupler (centered), the other atop the ball, attached magnetically. When the coupler pushes the stick on the ball forward, you know it is in the correct spot. Similar to the tennis ball devices but having tried both, I liked the hitching sticks better.


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Old 07-27-2015, 01:26 PM   #8
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Name: Peter
Trailer: Scamp
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Thank you all for your input.


Dennis - Wow 10 inches behind the axle!! Glad to hear you did that with no sway issues. That gives me a sense of relief!! As far as backing the truck to the trailer, I have backed with the tailgate down, get fairly close to the ball then hop out to close the tailgate and then complete hitching.


Tomorrow I am having my shop move the hitch back three inches. This will place it between 5 and 6 inches behind the axle, which I think will be OK. This will give me about 14 inches between the rear of the truck and the front of the camper when hitching up. (May be able to keep the tailgate down for entire hitching process!) It will also give me about 4 inches between the bumper and trailer while at a 45 degree angle and about 3.5 inches at their closest point, which is when the truck is about 60 degrees to the trailer. I think that spacing will be sufficient.


Spoke with Kent @ Scamp the other day. He said moving the hitch back shouldn't cause any issues.


Paul - Myself & my shop were familiar with the 60 inch "rule" and that is where the ball currently rests. After tomorrow it will be sitting at 57 inches from the corner of the bumper. Thanks for your insights about sway issues.
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